Donald Trump indicted over hush money, 1st ex-President to be charged with crime


Washington: Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, prosecutors and defence lawyers said on March 31, making him the first former U.S. President to face a criminal charge and jolting his bid to retake the White House next year.

The charges centre on payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. They mark an extraordinary development after years of investigations into Mr. Trump’s business, political and personal dealings.

The indictment injects a local district attorney’s office into the heart of a national presidential race and ushers in criminal proceedings in a city that the ex-President for decades called home. Arriving at a time of deep political divisions, the charges are likely to reinforce rather than reshape duelling perspectives of those who see accountability as long overdue and those who, like Mr. Trump, feel the Republican is being targeted for political purposes by a Democratic prosecutor.

Trump slammed the indictment as “political persecution and election interference,” raging against prosecutors and his Democratic opponents and vowing that it would backfire on his successor, President Joe Biden.

Surrendering for arraignment — which Trump’s lawyers have said he would do if indicted — would normally involve him being fingerprinted and photographed, potentially even handcuffed.

In the Republican camp, Trump’s allies and sons denounced what they see as a vendetta aimed at derailing his 2024 campaign — while his expected challenger for the party nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, slammed the indictment as “un-American.”

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